Today’s talent landscape is such that every company is eyeing the top 5-10% of talent. The competition is higher than ever, with human resource professionals constantly scratching their heads for the next big idea to bait the top talent pool.

Ensuring the constant supply of talent is crucial as it maintains work productivity and employee engagement within the organization. Furthermore, finding the right talent leads to an increase in retention rate, innovation, and leadership development.

But in the pursuit of attracting this talent pool and reaping its benefits, have you ever paused to evaluate if you are pulling the right audience? The talent game has changed drastically from just a decade or so ago. What was previously an employer-driven market has now flipped into a candidate-driven market. 

The Challenges

A typical recruitment process includes sourcing for candidates, assessing for their suitability, and an acceptance phase where shortlisted candidates can reject or accept an offer. While this process might seem relatively straightforward, there are challenges that have emerged over time.

Do any of the below strike a chord?

Sourcing Phase
“I cannot seem to get enough candidates to apply…!”
“Candidates drop off halfway in the recruitment process…”

Assessment Phase
“Candidates did not meet the selection criteria…”
“Hiring Managers do not think the candidates are the right fit!

Acceptance Phase
“Candidates do not want to accept the offer”
“More new hires are leaving within the 1st 6 months!”

As these challenges become commonplace, it also suggests that candidates seem to have an increasingly different position within the talent recruitment space.

A Role Reversal: The Audience and Performer

The role of recruiter and candidate seems to have somewhat changed over time, where increasingly, the candidate seems to yield more autonomy and power when it comes to selecting what they want to do and where they want to apply for. For instance, a fresh graduate might apply to a few organizations for the same management trainee program, or have multiple offers from competing organizations in the same industry. 2 key factors for this phenomenon may include:

The advent of the Internet. Remember the times when candidates used newspapers to look for job advertisements, deposit hardcopy resumes by post, then wait patiently to be called up for an interview? This is no longer the case. Candidates now have the same tool as recruiters and hiring managers: The Internet. Candidates can scour through different job postings, access information, and engage in knowledge sharing about different job roles, industries, pay scales, and organizations. For instance, 83% of job seekers and employees research about prospective organizations. This means that individuals now have a much more informed eye when it comes to which organizations and jobs to apply to.

Globalization: Tyranny of Choice. Due to increased mobility, potential candidates have a lot more job options to choose from. Organizations looking to broaden or enter certain industries and key markets are looking for the same talent. Also known as “War for Talent”, organizations are constantly competing to hire for that elusive “best talent” that will help them grow their business. Candidates who have certain key skill sets have a myriad of options when it comes to applying for organizations and job roles. For instance, “hard” skills such as digital literacy and “soft” skills like curiosity and adaptability are common terms coined when hiring for that digitally savvy, forward-thinking talent.

Using the fresh graduate above as an example, as much as HR personnel are assessing the candidate’s potential as a management trainee, the candidate is also evaluating every single step of the recruitment process, comparing it with other organizations, and finding the best possible option to develop his or her own career.

In this time and age, organizations who are used to being the audience, evaluating the prospective candidate, may find themselves taking the place of the performer, where they need to engage and put up a worthy performance to attract these talents.

Giving Your Candidates a “Performance-Worthy” Experience

In the past decade, a myriad of tools and practices aimed at increasing employer branding or candidate experience during the recruitment process has gained great popularity. 

Tools that carry the tags “AI”, “Technology-Driven”, or “Gamification” seems to be all the rage now, with 35% of organizations indicating that AI will be a game-changer for recruitment.  While these tools measure candidates’ behavioral fit to a job role, using such tools can benefit employer branding by giving the impression that organizations are riding the waves of being “tech-savvy”, “young”, and very much in tune with the candidates of today. 

However, as HR practitioners or recruiters, we should leverage on how these tools can both help us better assess candidates effectively while giving candidates a good recruitment experience – it should be an assessment first, candidate experience second approach.

Steps to the “Right” Performance

1. Getting the Fundamentals Right

Target Audience. Are you hiring for high volume, high stake roles targeted at fresh graduates, such as management trainee programs? Or are you hiring for a highly specialized, senior technical role? This determines how you source and assess candidates.

Recruitment Platform. Does your organization have an Applicant Tracking System? If no, how do you handle candidate recruitment, and how do you manage candidates? If yes, are different modules within the recruitment process streamlined? For instance, do you have a common data platform that evaluates candidates holistically based on multiple data sources (e.g. psychometric assessment results, resume outputs, and even social media footprints)?. On a broader level, having these data sources may enable you to run big data analysis to inform hiring trends for the organization.

Assessment and Competency Framework. Are the assessments and selection criteria that you set clearly measuring the skill sets and competencies of potential candidates? Are these selection criteria and competency framework validated for performance? Are they shown to lead to increased job performance? This measures whether the candidates you shortlist have been assessed fairly for job fit.

2. Consider adding the “wow” factor

This is when you can consider adopting gamified tools or practices that may improve candidate experience during the recruitment process. Depending on the target audience and the volume of hiring, organizations might consider adopting tools to increase candidate experience such as adding gamification to their current psychometric assessments, revamping their careers page, having chatbots to interact with candidates.

3. Hearing from Your Audience Regularly

Lastly, you will never know if you are doing a good job if your audience does not give feedback. You may want to elicit numerical and qualitative feedback from your candidates at the end of the interview, or at the end of the assessment process, to understand their perceptions and thoughts. Questions such as, “How do you rate the recruitment process?”, “What have we done well?”, and “How can we improve our experience?”. These valuable data, when analyzed on a small or large scale, can give organizations meaningful feedback on employer branding

Conclusion

Building a talent pipeline is crucial for any organization, and finding the right talent for the right organization and role requires a conscious effort to select the most effective assessment mode while engaging with the candidate simultaneously. Just like how the “right” performance requires substance and flair to engage audiences, an effective and engaging recruitment strategy is needed to attract the “right” candidate.